WELCOME TO REDHILL FOREST
Redhill Forest is in the middle of a South Park ridge that runs from Fairplay north to Hartsel south. The subdivision was once part of the sprawling Trout Creek Ranch. In the late 1970s, a large portion was subdivided by a Florida investor, Morris Burk, who, before creating Redhill Forest, was a minority owner of the Miami Dolphins football team. Large acreage tracts were subdivided into smaller ranch properties on the Middle Fork valley floor, and the ridge was subdivided into five different filings.
Today, Redhill Forest has 583 lots ranging in size from one acre to nine acres. It is a covenant-controlled community governed by a board of managers of Redhill owners.
The HOA Is responsible for the administration and management of the roads, community water system, architectural reviews, and regulations. Its operations are funded with annual member dues and water taps/consumption fees.
The story of South Park is the story of Colorado. Before trappers and settlers, the valley was roamed by Arapaho, Comanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne. The gold rush of 1859 brought miners scouring the streams and digging into the mountainsides. Then came the ranchers, the merchants, and, in 1879, the railroad. The railroad pushed out of Denver, mainly following the path of US 285. It continued by Jefferson and Como and then turned south at Trout Creek, running along the eastern side of Redhill Forest. Just south of Redhill, the railroad sliced through the Middle Fork gap (Garo) and ultimately continued to Gunnison. A spur was built to serve both Fairplay and Alma.
South Park has been designated a National Heritage Area. The South Park City Museum is open from May 15 to October 15. Founded by a Colorado Springs attorney in 1959, it is a fantastic collection of buildings relocated throughout the county and adjacent areas to reconstruct a main street. It is one of the most fascinating museums in the state and takes one to four hours to tour.
South Park also is the name of the long-running Comedy Central animated cartoon. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone (who grew up in suburban Denver) met at the University of Colorado. Their comic series certainly has made America familiar with the South Park name.
South Park is the largest of three mountain parks, which are expansive alpine valleys in Colorado's central Rocky Mountains. It is unusually open grassland due to the persistent winds. You can see a vista from many of Redhill’s lots extending 100 miles from Breckenridge to Westcliffe. This is one of the few places in Colorado where you can see four mountain ranges (Mosquito, Sawatch, Sangre de Cristos, and the Pikes Peak massif) and 15 peaks over 14,000 feet.
Fun fact: the geographical center of Colorado is located just a little offshore at Spinney Mountain reservoir.
On the west side of South Park, two long north-south ridges just east of Fairplay extend about fifteen miles. The eastern ridge is Reinecker Ridge, and the western ridge is Redhill. Redhill gets its name from the Red Dakota sandstone on the ridge and throughout the area. This is the same sandstone found in the Maroon Bells (Aspen), Red Rocks (Denver), and Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs). From the entrance to Redhill Forest's northern end, the ridge elevation rises from 9,200 feet to almost 10,000 feet.
The high-altitude forest primarily consists of slow-growing bristlecone pines (some of the oldest trees in Colorado), ponderosa pines, and small aspen groves.
Redhill Road branches into several north-south roads along both sides of the ridge from the entrance. All the roads are maintained year-round, plowed in winter, and graded in summer.
Redhill Forest weather will confound even the most seasoned Colorado resident. Although the prevailing winds come from the northwest (especially in winter), wind direction and storms can blow from any direction. With a ridge of 13,000’-14,000’ mountains just across the valley to protect from storms, Redhill gets a surprisingly light amount of winter snow for its high altitude. It’s not uncommon to see about six inches of snow on the ground during an average winter on the west side and about a foot or more on the more heavily forested east side. Snow and rainstorms tend to come in squalls that can last a few minutes or hours. Redhill Forest is also sunnier than other high-altitude areas in the state.
Summer temperatures are fantastic, with highs peaking in the mid-80s during the day and quickly falling back to the 50s at night. Winter daytime temps will rise into the upper 30s, and during January and February can drop down to -10 to -15ºF at night.
Clouds put on a continual show and sometimes fill the valley floor with a seeming cotton carpet.
Based on county property records (2022), Redhill Forest had 569 owned lots. Of these, Colorado residents owned 74%, and the other 26% by out-of-state owners nationwide. Over 150 homes range from 800 to 4,000 square feet, of which nearly 40 are primary residences.
During its first few decades, Redhill Forest owners purchased lots to have a campsite and access to area fishing and hunting. Owners of RVs invested in driveway and lot pad improvements, with some of them adding electrical, water, and septic hookups. Early Redhill homes were smaller in size and were either small cabins or A-frames, which was very much the style of that time. Home size and designs started changing in the early 2000s. Since roughly 2010, homes have tended to be larger, many now with attached garages and of a more “mountain modern” design commonly found in resort areas. Being equidistant to Denver and Colorado Springs, Redhill Forest is a two-hour drive (or less) from Colorado's major metropolitan centers. In the last three years, lot values have increased 3x to 4x, and the demand for water taps has increased noticeably. All of this points to a change in the market with a higher interest in buying and development.
HUNTING AND FISHING
Redhill Forest residents enjoy outstanding hunting and fishing access through specially negotiated easements. For hunters with a tag for the unit on Reinecker Ridge, there is a gate allowing easy and direct access.
Fly fishers can access the Middle Fork of the South Platte for 4 miles (with an extra mile available for some designated lots). There are two parking areas and sign-in kiosks in three locations.
Public access water for fishing the Middle Fork is just south of Redhill Forest (Tomahawk and Badger Basin), and there are many open stretches between Fairplay and Alma. Lake fishing is south at Antero, Spinney Mountain, and Eleven Mile Reservoirs and east at Tarryall Reservoir.
HIKING AND WINTER SPORTS
Numerous trailheads in the cross-valley Mosquito Range can be reached in 20 minutes. Access to six fourteeners (Sherman, Democrat, Bross, Cameron, Lincoln, and Quandary) is less than 30 minutes.
For Nordic skiing, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling, many of the Mosquito range trails and 4WD routes are accessible. Breckenridge offers ample terrain and is a 45-minute drive for alpine skiing and snowboarding. For a less crowded and less expensive ski experience (and more original Colorado), Monarch is about a 1.5-hour drive, as is Ski Cooper (Leadville/Tennessee Pass).
South Park is brimming with wildlife, and Redhill Forest is a great place to see a lot of it. Large elk herds, mule deer, pronghorn, and moose are frequently seen. More elusive are coyotes, bobcats, bears, and mountain lions. Birds range from hummingbirds, eagles (golden and bald), hawks, osprey, turkey vultures, ravens, Steller's jays, and Clark’s nutcrackers.